The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Tech time in the wine aisle

It’s not just about an engaging logo or label anymore, Caro Jensen – co-founder of Sip NZ and – explains how wineries can use technology to attract consumers.

Wineries are desperate to stand-out from the crowd in wallpaper-like aisles, with the wine category typically carrying the highest number of products compared to any other segment in store.

Technology offers exciting new ways to engage shoppers, but the wine industry is hardly known as a fast mover when it comes to embracing new ways to market their products. Yet wine is an ideal candidate for new tech solutions given its rich history, complex craft, inspiring makers and stunning visuals.

Let’s have a look at the tech tools that are behind some of the most innovative and engaging campaigns in the wine aisle…

Near-Field Communications (NFC)

NFC tags contain a small unpowered chip and depending on how it is programmed, they offer the ability to launch apps and perform certain actions including competition entries, and wireless payments just by holding your phone close to a tag. This technology can be used for conventional neck-tags to create “tap to win” on-pack promotions but can also be integrated into wine labels or screwcaps. Innovative producers including Spanish Bodegas Barbadillo and US brand Böen have already successfully leveraged NFC to increase wine sales.

Augmented Reality (AR)

AR overlays 3D animation onto what users view through their cell phones, creating immersive and engaging brand experiences. Generic augmented reality apps such as Winerytale and Living Wine Labels allow producers to create animations without the need develop a bespoke producer app, making this technology accessible for smaller wineries.

A number of innovative Australiasian producers, such as Treasury Wine Estates (TWE), have launched bespoke AR applications to create cutting-edge wine experiences for shoppers. Entertainment including gamification and immersive experiences such as “transportation to the vineyard” are popular content strategies to engage consumers and create a positive ROI.

Multi-sensual Brand Experiences

Projection mapping, also known as video mapping or spatial augmented reality, turns objects such as buildings, stages or stores into a display surface for video projection. These screen-free, multi-sensual brand experiences are often supported by audio effects and scent diffusions, making them a great tool for wine promotions.


Beacons are small Bluetooth devices that can send alerts to smartphones based on location proximity. In the retail space, a store’s app must be open on a customer’s smartphone to receive beacon alerts, such as in-store promotions, user-specific discounts or product recommendations. Macy’s, Urban Outfitters, and Target successfully use beacons to drive customer engagement.


An increasing number of retailers have screens, tablets and projectors in store giving producers the opportunity to influence customers’ buying decisions at the point of sale. Sweeping vineyard shots, a peek into the winemaking process or team interviews are go-to content angles. Consumer-led, aspirational content featuring wines in use and in the environment of the target audience are however harder to find.

Social Media

One of the most overlooked tech tools in the wine aisle is social media. Featuring a brand’s active and ideally streamlined social media handles on the back label, neck tag or shelf talker, alongside a specific hashtag and call-to-action, wineries can easily kick-off conversations and competitions with prospective customers and provide customer service via channels that consumers already love using.

Connecting the Dots…

But the biggest opportunity these technologies offer, beside the initial customer engagement, is the identification of shoppers. Connecting the dots between online followers and customers shopping offline, identifying people browsing the wine aisle and ultimately buying certain wines, finally allows producers to engage wine lovers via personalised and targeted offers and bespoke communication. That’s when tech in the wine aisle unleashes its full potential and wineries can truly harvest the rewards of their innovative initiatives.